© Nathan Mandell
Northwestern University President Henry Bienen (left)
joined by Oprah Winfrey and Kellogg Dean Emeritus Donald
Jacobs and Dean Dipak Jain at Kellogg's June commencement
treated to media icon at Graduation '01
tells grads to 'serve others' as Don Jacobs says goodbye
by Matt Golosinski
midnight, the sound of rattling metal could be heard outside
McGaw Hall as workers arranged barricades and made other preparations
for the coming day's graduation convocation of the Kellogg
school. In addition to the usual fanfare surrounding Kellogg's
full-time commencement activities, this year invited a swarm
of special media attention because of Oprah Winfrey, who delivered
the June 16 convocation address. Though Winfrey admitted her
schedule made participation in such engagements a challenge,
she said she felt "deeply honored" to appear at
the ceremony. "I couldn't say 'no' to my own class,"
said Winfrey, a recent adjunct professor at Kellogg. "And
nobody says 'no' to Dean Jacobs," she added while cameras
flashed around her.
Hall was packed to the rafters with family and friends of
the some 1,000 Kellogg graduates. Throughout the afternoon,
expectations and excitement rose inside the hall, as guests
awaited not only Winfrey but Dean Donald Jacobs who, after
26 years, was appearing in his last commencement as head of
the Kellogg school.
departed from his usual extemporaneous practice and instead
penned a written speech this year. Explaining his decision,
Jacobs said "This is a very nostalgic day for me and
I might have been too emotional to deliver a speech that wasn't
Above and below right: some of this year's graduating
has traditionally done, Jacobs revisited some of the more
significant developments at Kellogg over the past year. He
began by praising incoming dean Dipak Jain whom Jacobs called
"absolutely qualified and ready" to lead the school.
Jacobs then highlighted the recently completed construction
of a new building that expands Kellogg's Evanston campus,
calling the facilities "second to none." He went
on to note the importance of Kellogg's technology curriculum
as well as the school's "very dramatic international
commitment." To illustrate the latter point, Jacobs explained
that nearly one-third of the school's newest class comes from
outside the United States.
also underscored the importance of alumni serving as "ambassadors
to spread the Kellogg brand," and then closed his address
with a familiar recommen-dation. "Do well, be well, have
fun, make us proud and stay in touch," he told the graduates
before introducing Winfrey, the 47-year-old chairman of Harpo
Entertainment Group and host of the Emmy-award-winning Oprah
wove folktales, quotations and personal anecdotes into an
inspirational speech that emphasized nurturing one's personal
vision and vocation. "Each of us enters the world with
a calling," said Winfrey. "It may begin as a whisper,
but eventually the calling makes its claim and never goes
personal influences that included Emerson, Thoreau, and Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., Winfrey told graduates that it was
"far more important to be significant than successful."
She also noted that service to others was the key to gaining
"significance," a condition she differentiated from
contemporary notions of financial success. "Nothing wrong
with a big paycheck...but I've known many people who have
grown bored by their material possessions and hungered for
something more," said Winfrey, whose erudite address
was punctuated with moments of her well-known colloquial style.
recalled becoming determined to use her media influence to
serve "a higher calling" by helping others overcome
adversity. "Develop a new vision of service to others,
to your family, community and world," insisted Winfrey.
"Lift yourself out of the mundane to magnificent heights.
If you honor your calling, your life will be blessed,"
Winfrey spoke, Jacobs presented her with a gift from her Kellogg
students: a framed photograph of the Evanston campus. Each
student had signed the picture.
the graduates were awarded their degrees -- the first time
in the history of the Kellogg school that the MBA instead
of the MM degree had been conferred -- Professor Daniel Diermeier
was presented with the Professor of the Year Award. Diermeier,
the IBM Professor in Regulation and Competitive Practices,
thanked the students for selecting him as their choice. He
also thanked Jacobs for "creating what seems impossible:
an environment where both superb research and teaching excellence
in the day, Kellogg's Executive Master's Program, classes
EMP-47 and EMP-48, held commencement at Cahn Auditorium. The
convocation speaker was Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman
Sachs, Inc. EMP-47 selected Sunil Chopra and Steve Rogers
as their top professors, while EMP-48 selected David Messick
and Brian Sternthal as theirs. During the graduation, students
saluted Jacobs through poetry, songs and gifts. "It was
a glorious celebration," said Erica Kantor, director